From 1 Kings 15-17
1 Ki 15.1-8; Abijam; Jeroboam; Abijam Reigns in Judah
1 Ki 15.9-24; Asa; Jeroboam; Asa Reigns In Judah
1 Ki 15.25-32; Asa; Nadab; Nadab Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 15.33-16.7; Asa; Baasha; Baasha Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.8-14; Asa; Elah; Elah Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.15-20; Asa; Zimri; Zimri Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.21-28; Asa; Omri; Omri Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 16.29-34; Jehoshaphat; Ahab; Ahab Reigns in Israel
1 Ki 17.1-7; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; Elijah Predicts a Drought
1 Ki 17.8-16; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; The Widow of Zarephath
1 Ki 17.17-24; Jehoshaphat; Ahab-Elijah; Elijah Raises the Widow’s Son
Passage and Comments
The books of Kings and Chronicles detail the words and deeds of the kings of Israel and Judah. A casual reading of both will reveal their were good and evil kings. Some were faithful to the LORD, other led the people astray.
What do you think the people of Israel thought as they encountered these books?
In today’s reading we read about king Asa.
9 In the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah, 10 and he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Maacah the daughter of Abishalom. 11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, as David his father had done. 12 He put away the male cult prostitutes out of the land and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. 13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron. (1 Ki 15.9-13)
The date is measured by Jeroboam, the first king of Israel. King Asa reigned over Judah for fourth years. Quite a long time. There were a number of kings whose reigns were shorter. They passed on the baton from generation to generation.
Asa was a good king. He is compared to David in favorable terms. Like other good kings he has to undo the sinful practices and worship of the kings before him. These kings were his fathers and ancestors.
Do you have the same faith as your fathers and sons?
14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the Lord all his days. 15 And he brought into the house of the Lord the sacred gifts of his father and his own sacred gifts, silver, and gold, and vessels. (1 Ki 15.14-15)
Judah had the temple of the LORD, but Asa’s fathers before him installed places of foreign worship, the ‘high places’. These Asa did not remove. Perhaps he feared his people would rebel. This is the only criticism against him. None the less Asa is described as being wholly true to the LORD all his days. A great commendation. Part of his devotion to the LORD involved bringing gifts to the LORD.
What does it mean to be true to the LORD?
16 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days. 17 Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah and built Ramah, that he might permit no one to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah. 18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house and gave them into the hands of his servants. And King Asa sent them to Ben-hadad the son of Tabrimmon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, who lived in Damascus, saying, 19 “Let there be a covenant between me and you, as there was between my father and your father. Behold, I am sending to you a present of silver and gold. Go, break your covenant with Baasha king of Israel, that he may withdraw from me.” (1 Ki 15.16-19)
During Asa’s reign, Judah and Israel were still at war with one another. Asa took all the gold and silver in the temple treasuries. Perhaps that included his sacred gifts. Asa used the treasure to buy the help of the Syrians and get them to break their covenant with Israel. The author does not evaluate the move. So I wonder if it was a good move or not? Did he inquire of the LORD and ask his help?
What would later generations think?
20 And Ben-hadad listened to King Asa and sent the commanders of his armies against the cities of Israel and conquered Ijon, Dan, Abel-beth-maacah, and all Chinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali. 21 And when Baasha heard of it, he stopped building Ramah, and he lived in Tirzah. 22 Then King Asa made a proclamation to all Judah, none was exempt, and they carried away the stones of Ramah and its timber, with which Baasha had been building, and with them King Asa built Geba of Benjamin and Mizpah. (1 Ki 15.20-22)
The Syrians are bought and betray Israel. Attacking a few of their cities. Baasha, the king of Israel retreated as Asa hoped and they plundered the materials he was using to fortify Ramah.
These are the events of note in Asa’s reign.
23 Now the rest of all the acts of Asa, all his might, and all that he did, and the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah? But in his old age he was diseased in his feet. 24 And Asa slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father, and Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his place. (1 Ki 15.23-24)
The story of the Kings continues.
Story of Israel
The books were read by the people of Israel. What do you think they thought when they heard or read them?
For the people of Israel, these stories concerned their family history. They remembered a lot more of their history than my generation did. They looked back further and saw where they came from. Their history could explain why they were in their current situation (exile) or why they have these relations with other people groups.
Because they were all people of the LORD. The book records their religious history. The kings and various people at these times could be evaluated. Used as examples of how to live and pray. They could also be used as examples of what not to do. They could see the LORD’s faithfulness to his promises, his goodness in sending the prophets or raising up kings. They would also understand why he punished them as he did.
The books point forward to something better. If the LORD has made promises to Abraham and David. There must be a brighter future than what they were experiencing.
Story of Jesus
Like the book of Kings, the gospel concerns the words and deeds of King Jesus. Luke begins his gospel account with;
1 Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, 2 just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us, 3 it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught. (Lk 1:1–4)
In the final chapters of the Gospel of John, the apostle writes;
30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (Jn 20:30–31)
Both are conscious of the fact they are writing an account of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The people of Israel no doubt reflected upon the lives of their kings. We are fortunate we can do the same.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2015. All Rights Reserved.